Even if you cannot say other things that are so important, start with “Thank you!” Even if you find it difficult to say “I love you!” to those who matter, start at least with “Thank you!” And yes, Let it go! Make the move and do it, at least with those to whom YOU matter. Even if they don’t matter to you as much as you matter to them!
This article is prompted by some thoughts that occurred to me when I met with a few elderly people. I find that most of these elderly people have some kind of reservation or misgiving about how they have contributed to their children. And most of them are not sure if they have done a good job!
Most parents feel that they could have done better for their children. Sometimes, they have remorse that they have not done the best they could.
Most parents feel that they could have done better for their children. Sometimes, they have remorse that they have not done the best they could. They also feel that their children sometimes hold many grudges (knowingly or unknowingly) against them. And that their children have moved away, if not physically, at least emotionally and mentally, and are truly not “in touch” with their parents. And this is not restricted only to parents. This exists in many relationships – wife and husband, brothers and sisters, and amongst friends.
I am reminded of an incident that took place while traveling in the Metro Train in Mumbai between Versova and Ghatkopar a few months ago. It was the evening time, and I had completed a business meeting near Versova and had boarded the train to get to Ghatkopar. It was not quite rush hour, and yet a fair number of people were traveling. I found a vacant seat and sat down. I had a rather heavy overnight bag with me. After the train stopped at the next station, a few ladies got on. I immediately got up and offered my seat to one of those ladies. And I leant back against one of the poles in the train. After a couple of stations, a seat became vacant. And a youngster rushed past me, and sat down there, and had a triumphant look on his face. I smiled inwardly and continued with my travel. After a couple of more stations went by, another seat became vacant. And there was this young girl who was standing close to that seat. She looked at me and said to me, “Uncle, you can please take that seat. You’ve been standing for so long, and that bag looks quite heavy.” My initial reaction was, ”Who is the uncle she is addressing?” (Most people don’t seem to understand that they have grown older) And then I said, “It is alright, you please sit down.” She insisted saying, “Uncle, I saw you get up and offer your seat to that aunty, so please sit down.”
And I thanked her, sat down and smiled to myself. I was touched, and quite happy. And as the train was nearing Ghatkopar, the last stop, I stood up, as did the girl. I called out to her, and said, “Excuse me, do you live with you parents?” And she replied, “Yes Uncle, I do.” And so, I told her, “Please do me a favour. When you get back home, please tell your parents that they’ve done a great job as parents. And that I thank them for doing a great job in bringing you up with kindness, compassion and values.” She had this puzzled look on her face. And I continued, “Most parents go through life, not knowing if they have done a good job of raising their children. I am certain that these are values that you have learnt from your parents. And these are the most important. I work with people, as a Happiness Coach, and if you ever need any help, please give me a call.” So saying, I handed over my business card to her.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call, a week later from a number that I did not have stored on my phone. The person introduced herself as the “mother of the girl you’d met on the Metro train.” And she said, “Thank you sir! You really made a difference to my daughter and to our family. We have been telling her that what is most important are values of kindness, giving, and compassion. And that her grades in college are secondary. However, she was feeling a fair bit of peer pressure and was doubting if she was actually doing something useful. That one interaction with you, has transformed her. And it has created a lovely atmosphere here at home. She now is more willing to listen and practice the values we talk to her about. Thank you very much!”
The reason for narrating this anecdote is NOT to say that “Cheenu is great!” Far from it. It is show how important it is for parents (And others in our lives) to know that they have done, and are still doing a great job. The role of a parent is never ever done until that parent ceases to live. A parent is a parent whether the child is a toddler, or a sixty year old. Similarly, a true friend is someone who truly cares, and is willing to risk losing the relationship to make a difference. People who care, care enough to give feedback and to make a difference in another’s life.
A true friend is someone who truly cares, and is willing to risk losing the relationship to make a difference. People who care, care enough to give feedback and to make a difference in another’s life.
It IS possible that sometimes people might have been unreasonable, or unfair, or even selfish. However, each and every one of these is a perception of the child within each of us. And even if they had been so in truth, it just shows that they are as human as any of us. And that they are imperfect, just like all of us. And that they deserve kindness, compassion and understanding.
Every one of my coaching sessions ends with what I call “Acknowledgements.” This is the part when I thank the client, then myself, and all others whom I think need to be thanked. And I find more than one specific thing for which these thanks are mentioned. And then the client thanks me, themselves, and any others that they think need to be thanked. This always ensures that there is an increase of the “good chemicals” in the body. Gratitude is extremely powerful, and there is enough data and research to prove that this ensures that the chemical balance in the body is maintained in such a way that people are truly feeling good, and in a position to be healthier – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Gratitude helps both the giver of thanks and the receiver of thanks with the same immense benefits.
So, make the move! Say “I thank you for…..” as often as possible. Make the move – let go of any inhibitions that might exist. For these are people who matter to you, or more importantly, to whom you matter. A self conscious, half hearted and goofy “thank you!” is a million times better than none.
I thank you for being a good human being, a good parent or child, a good friend, a caring partner, a great friend, a kind soul and I thank you for being someone who cares. May the Universe bless us all.